Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Part That Lives Up to the Name - Grand Boulevard Part II

One of the more interesting things about Detroit is that you have these islands of nice spots that are surrounded by seas of not so nice spots.  The next part would be one of those nice spots.
 This area is called the New Center and was established in the 1920's as a business hub that would offer convenient access to both the downtown resources and the outlying factories.  It is considered as the first edge city....a subcenter remote from but related to the main core.  The descriptor "New Center" comes from the New Center News which was a free automotive focused newspaper that continues today as the Detroit Auto Scene. 
 Just south of this area, a major railroad infrastructure known as the Milwaukee Junction was constructed to support the factories in the area.
 Many factories were located in this area.  Just west of here, Henry Ford bought the Detroit General Hospital and renamed it the Henry Ford Hospital.
 But what really sparked development in the area was the creation of the General Motors Headquarters.  William Durant was looking for a parcel of land to build this and settled on this area.  He hired Albert Kahn as the architect and ground broke in 1919.  It was built in two phases and construction was completed in 1930.
 Across the street from the GM Headquarters, the Fisher Brothers of Fisher Body decided to build their headquarters.  They also hired Albert Kahn and spared no expense in the construction of this building.  Ground was broken in 1927 and it was completed in 1932.
 The building is pretty amazing for all its ornateness. 
 I think there was a concert or play today, hence the people.  It was kind of cool to see people in here.  I believe that WJR still has it's studios in this building.
 The ceiling is amazing.  I was almost tempted to switch back to color for this but I have posted pictures of this building before.
 This was pretty cool too.
 This shot may be too dark.
 The building itself is 30 stories tall. 
 The GM Headquarters is now known as Cadillac Place and was bought by the State of Michigan in the 1990's.  GM in turn moved into the Renaissance Center.
 I love some of the details on these old builidings.  It would be nice if there were still a company headquarters here but I'm sure the State will take care of it.
 The arches are just fantastic.
 Back to the Fisher building.  The top of the building used to be gold plated but that was removed during World War II because it was feared that it would make an easy target for bombers.
 Back to the GM building.  Again, you can see hints of the Albert Kahn designs in this building as well.  I think little details like this are his trademark.
 I'd have to believe this was gas powered at one time but maybe not.
 At one time, Saks Fifth Avenue has a store here but that closed and moved to Fairlane Town Center in Dearborn in 1978.
 Back to the GM Building.
 Looking up at the Fisher Building.  This is probably one of the more distinctive landmarks in Detroit.
 The columns of the GM Building.
 Looking at the front glass of the Fisher Building from the front.
 The details of the artwork on the front.
 One of the figures holding a car, depicting the Fisher Brothers' part in the automotive industry.
 Another figure.
 Looking at some of the details on the building itself.
 The Henry Ford Hospital opened in 1915.  It was the first hospital to use a standard fee schedule and because Henry Ford thought that tobacco was unhealthy, it was the first to institute a total ban on its use.
There have been a number of innovations developed at this hospital over the years. 

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